Mid-County Fiber Opposed by Big Telecom

“Some parts of Santa Cruz County have high speed broadband, others don’t... The difference is usually that the poorly served areas are rural or low income or both.”

Many of our local government administrators and elected officials have expressed support from Cruzio’s big goal: to make sure all of Santa Cruz County has world class internet at a reasonable price.

Cruzio is trying to push that goal forward. Here’s an open letter to our representatives with the latest news. Please read it and share!

Dear Representative,

Thank you again for supporting Equal Access Santa Cruz, Cruzio’s latest effort to get low cost, fast internet to the under-served parts of your constituency.

As you know, we’re dealing with a scattershot situation where good internet is concerned. Some parts of your district have high speed broadband, others don’t.

The difference is usually that the poorly served areas are rural or low income or both.

Both issues — sparse population and economics — are serious problems and Cruzio is addressing them in a couple of ways:

  1. We’ve created a high-speed fixed wireless network that can extend to remote areas, and we've worked with communities and government entities to create economically viable ways to deliver service. However, companies cannot survive on a small, widely dispersed customer base. Cruzio’s competitiveness in more urban areas allows us to survive.
  2. As Cruzio expands our fiber network, we‘ve developed an expertise in serving low income communities, including workforce housing and mobile home parks. Equal Access Santa Cruz is just such a project. We’ve identified underserved urban areas and proposed a remedy.
EASC Map

Proposed placement of new Santa Cruz Fiber infrastructure

It comes back to our belief that everyone deserves good internet. Everyone got access to electricity and telephone service when those utilities were established, but the telecommunications industry has been mostly deregulated. Now large national companies are merely picking off the more profitable neighborhoods while harder to reach, lower-income areas suffer.

We need to change that situation. As you know, Cruzio applied for a grant to serve several mobile home parks — and hundreds of low income residents — to address it. We appreciate that you have expressed support for our efforts.

Recently, we were informed that AT&T, Comcast, and Charter are fighting our grant bid based on a technical difference between areas shown on California's Broadband Map as unserved and what they say the grant guidelines require. This technicality may well deprive hundreds of people from their ability to live like modern people in a modern economy.

If your constituents are deprived reasonably priced, competitive access to good internet, their lives and the economic health of our region will suffer.

This illustrates the damage that highly litigious, lobbyist-heavy telecommunications companies do when they control both the writing and the enforcement of California programs.

Cruzio and our customers, like everyone else in California, pays communications taxes to support rural service. This money goes almost exclusively to AT&T. AT&T, in turn, is taking the money while abandoning the services that reach rural residents. In other words, while being paid to serve rural residents, AT&T is removing the only reasonable service they have.

Let’s disrupt this situation. Let’s not get knocked out by the first technicality. Cruzio will build infrastructure to areas that aren’t currently well served, and we’ll maintain a competitive environment that makes sure local residents get high speeds, low cost, and modern upgrades as they are necessary.

Thanks for your support!

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